Posts Tagged ‘random acts of violence

20
May
11

‎5.20.2011 … Meck Dec Day! …

Meck Dec Day, Charlotte, history:  A little local history for you … and now a “Charlotte Liberty Walk” is planned.  Maybe next year …

The anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775 has been celebrated locally, state wide, and even nationally through the years.  In Charlotte, 49 anniversary celebrations have been documented, including every year since 1995.  In times past children were let out of school for Meck Dec day and sometimes for the entire week.  Four sitting US Presidents and countless Governors, Senators and US Representatives have appeared at these celebrations.  The centennial celebration in 1875 brought 40,000 people on special trains to this town of 6,000 souls.

For more detail on the Meck Dec celebrations, see The Charlotte Mecklenburg Story at the Charlotte Library web site http://www.cmstory.org/meckdec

via The Celebrations | MeckDec.org.

At noon on May 20, 1775, Thomas Polk stood at the Mecklenburg Courthouse and read aloud the declaration to the public: “… the citizens of Mecklenburg County do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown…” By this act, Mecklenburg declared itself “a free and independent people,” more than a year prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Original copies of the Mecklenburg Declaration were lost in a fire in 1800, causing some historians to question the validity of the document, even while many point to sources such as newspaper articles to prove its existence. As a proud descendant of Thomas Polk, I don’t need a document to prove the “Meck Dec” existed. The independent spirit of our local forefathers proves its existence.

It is this spirit and our fierce determination for freedom that caused English General Cornwallis to call Charlotte a “hornet’s nest” during the Revolutionary War. It is this same spirit that led us to name our streets “Independence Boulevard” and “Freedom Drive,” and a school “Independence High.” It is this spirit that moved state leaders to put May 20, 1775, on our state flag, and why it remains there today.

We should be proud of our history and independent spirit, teaching it to our children and to newcomers. Only by knowing where we come from can we know who we are and the great things we are capable of accomplishing as a community.

via The spirit of ‘Meck Dec’ still lives on | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

On the eve of today’s Meck Dec Day observance, a Charlotte history group unveiled plans for the Charlotte Liberty Walk, an interactive tour that celebrates the city’s role in the Revolutionary War.

The one-mile uptown tour, which begins and ends at Trade and Tryon streets, would consist of 18 sites that commemorate Charlotte’s role in the war for independence, said Scott Syfert, a Charlotte lawyer and vice chairman of The May 20th Society.

via High-tech tour would tout city’s Revolution role | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

politics, human sin, Newt Gingrich, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Human sin is a constant, none are free, and anyone who is shocked by it is a fool or lying. Even so, what a week, full of human surprises. But we wouldn’t be so surprised if we paid more attention to what we know, and built our expectations from there.

via A Week of Shocks but Few Surprises – WSJ.com.

immigration, green card lottery:  I knew the lottery existed, but don’t know anyone who has won … interesting take on its symbolism for America as a “land of equal opportunity.”

Despite the recent setbacks, the green card lottery is a shrewd way for the United States to honor a history of open immigration that lasted until the late 19th century, and win over hearts and minds along the way.

While the completely open borders of yore are sadly not feasible today, the lottery, in its limited way, helps America to remain a land of equal opportunity.

via Losing (but Loving) the Green Card Lottery – NYTimes.com.

random acts of violence, Charlotte, animal cruelty, Misty meadows, kith/kin:  Misty Meadows is a wonderful place and provides a wonderful service to handicapped kids.  Molly volunteers there. Just like all random acts of violence, senseless violence really show a shortcoming in humans …

Police are asking the public’s help to identify who shot a horse at close range at Misty Meadows Farm on Providence Road in Weddington on May 1.

A projectile from an air gun lodged in one of the horse’s eyes, and the eye had to be removed.

Misty Meadows Farm is home to the Mitey Riders, a nonprofit organization serving children who have special needs.

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information leading to the identity of the shooter or shooters. Call Charlotte-Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. JOE MARUSAK

via Misty Meadows horse shot with air gun | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Girl Scouts, culture, csr:  Our children are advocates and a activists.  It’s interesting how a Girl Scout project turned on the organization and the organization is struggling to deal with the change.

To earn their Girl Scout Bronze Award four years ago, Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva set out to study orangutans.

Instead, they wound up investigating Thin Mints, Trefoils and Samoas.

What they uncovered soured them on the sweets and has put the Michigan teens at odds with Girl Scouts of the USA. Now they’re on a march to change the recipe for Girl Scout cookies.

Their target: palm oil, which can come from places the primates live.

The girls, who have been scouts since they were five, have rallied troops across the country. Scouts sold 198 million boxes of cookies last year, but now some say they’re done. Scouts and leaders have criticized their nonprofit organization on Facebook and Twitter.

via Cookie Crumbles for Girl Scouts as Teens Launch Palm-Oil Crusade – WSJ.com.

tv, The Office, Catherine Tate:  I like Catherine Tate … well, I think she is funny … we’ll see.

Catherine Tate, one of several comedy all-stars that have been drafted

Catherine Tate opposite David Tennant on an episode of “Doctor Who.” (BBC) for tonight’s season finale of “The Office,” is reportedly the front-runner for the job of replacing Steve Carell.

The Hollywood Reporter says the producers of the comedy consider her their top choice for manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch, but it’s unclear whether Tate can commit to the role because she has already signed on to star in a London production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Brits may be more familiar with Tate’s work than Americans are. She’s become a star in Britain thanks to her sketch comedy series, ”The Catherine Tate Show” and her work on the perenially popular “Doctor Who,” where she starred opposite David Tennant, also her co-star in that aforementioned Shakespeare production.

Is it a good idea to cast Tate, who is very talented and, in the eyes of most U.S. viewers,a fresh face? Or should “The Office” go with a name Americans are more familiar with — a James Spader, who is reportedly also still being considered, or one of the current stars of the show?

via Catherine Tate could be Steve Carell’s replacement on ‘The Office’: Are you pro or con? – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

random, consumer products:  So the pocket seat gets a C … Infomercial Products As Seen on TV: ‘GMA’ Tries Before You Buy! – ABC News.

cities, urban development, Pittsburgh, lists: Very interesting article …

The most recent surveys, from Monocle magazine, Forbes, Mercer and The Economist, concur: Vancouver, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen and Munich dominate the top. What, you might ask, no New York? No London? No LA or HK? None of the cities that people seem to actually want to emigrate to, to set up businesses in? To be in? None of the wealthiest, flashiest, fastest or most beautiful cities? Nope. Americans in particular seem to get wound up by the lack of US cities in the top tier. The one that does make it is Pittsburgh. Which winds them up even more.

The big cities it seems, the established megacities of the US, Europe and Asia are just too big, too dangerous, too inefficient. So what do these top cities have in common? How exactly do you measure “liveability”?

“We also have to acknowledge that these cities that come top of the polls also don’t have any poor people,” he adds. And that, it seems to me, touches on the big issue. Richard G Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s hugely influential book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better (2009) seems to present an obvious truth – that places where the differential in income between the wealthiest and the poorest is smallest tend to engender a sense of satisfaction and well-being. But while it may be socially desirable, that kind of comfort doesn’t necessarily make for vibrancy or dynamism. If everybody is where they want to be, no one is going anywhere.

via FT.com / House & Home – Liveable v lovable.

01
May
11

5.1.2011 … May Day … Special family friend Greg is Home … happy news, prayers answered.

kudos, kith/kin: Congratulations to Greg for coming home from open-heart surgery.  Prayers for a speedy recovery.

random acts of violence, Charlotte, Robert Barber, follow-up:  What strength!

In Charlotte, Barber’s wife, Debbie, said she is still in shock, still expecting her husband to walk in the door. “Everything has a memory,” she said. “I am blessed to have had him in my life and it’s going to be really hard not to have him.”

Holding her youngest son’s hand, and flanked by more than 70 friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers, Debbie Barber on Saturday retraced the steps her husband took on that fateful morning. They walked from the Caribou Coffee on Fairview Road, along tree-shaded Simsbury Road, over a tiny creek, and then turned left onto Mullens Ford Road and up to the spot in the 4500 block where he was slain.

They stood, heads bowed, for a moment of silence and honored a life well lived.

In most murders, the victim and killer know each other, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. In only 14 percent of all cases, they are strangers.

via Struggle to fathom a shocking crime | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Epic Southern Storms 4/27, follow-up, University of Alabama:

From the crimson flags in store windows to the hotels that swell on football weekends, this city lives and breathes the University of Alabama. So when a tornado tore through Tuscaloosa this week — killing at least 36 and leaving hundreds homeless a few miles from campus — shock replaced the excitement that was building for graduation.

On Thursday, the university called off the rest of this school year — canceling final exams and the last week of classes, and postponing graduation until August. Although the storm spared the campus itself, the 30,000 students and 5,000 faculty members and staff at the state’s flagship university have felt the toll deeply.

via University of Alabama Devastated by Storms – NYTimes.com.

 You Tube,  flash mob, Apple Store:  Enjoy!

Lemonade Mouth may not be a real band, but that didn’t stopped it from launching a real flash mob.

via Lemonade Mouth Flash Mobs Apple Store – Speakeasy – WSJ.

food-desserts, cupcakes, lists, NYC:  I thought cupcakes were out and pie was in …

8 Best Cupcakes in NYC

Sugar Sweet Sunshine; Photo: Emily Capo

Like some sweet, frosted Energizer Bunny, cupcakes are the baked good that keeps going and going. Other trends come and go – soft-serve ice cream is soooo 2010 – but these cute, tasty treats seem to grow in popularity with each year. We’ve just released our 2011/12 New York City Food Lover’s Guide – read on for reviews and ratings of NYC’s Top Cupcakes.

via 8 Best Cupcakes in NYC from Zagat.

travel,France, movies, film/lit:  OK, I wouldn’t mind tracing Julia’s steps through Paris …

If seeing Julie & Julia has inspired a trip to Paris—or if you’re already going—visiting Julia Child’s haunts will help you experience the city as she did. Some restaurants, markets, and shops below are featured in the movie, such as E. Dehillerin, where she bought kitchen supplies, and Shakespeare & Company, where she thumbed through French cookbooks. Others she writes about in her autobiography, My Life in France.

via Tour Julie & Julia’s Paris: 8 Essential Stops for Your Next Visit | Travel News from Fodor’s Travel Guides.

 Royal Wedding, follow-up, LOL: 

Cartwheeling in Westminster Abbey

A verger at Westminster Abbey has been spotted doing cartwheels down the aisle, suggesting he was very happy the Royal Wedding went smoothly.

The scene was captured by cameras after Catherine Middleton and Prince William had tied the knot, and when most guests had left the building.

The couple were married in front of a congregation of 1,900 people, and an estimated TV audience of two billion watched around the world.

The verger has been named by sources as Ben Sheward.

An Abbey spokesperson said “Like all of us, (he) was very pleased the service had gone according to plan, and was expressing his exuberance.”

It is understood the cartwheeler will not get into trouble over the incident.

via Royal Wedding: Verger At Westminster Abbey Does Cartwheels Down The Aisle | UK News | Sky News.

travel:  Any body used any f these services for bargains? Score a high-end hotel for a mid-tier price – Apr. 29, 2011.

26
Apr
11

4.26.2011 … 25th Anniversary of Chernobyl … an event we hoped would never repeat itself …

random acts of violence, Robert Barber, prayers:  Truly random .. truly senseless … Prayers for comfort for  his wife and family as they go through the  grieving/mourning process.  As I mentioned he and his wife go to my church, but I do not know them … but  a good friend is their neighbor and they own puppies from a litter of the Barbers’ golden.  So not only well-respected in the business world, heavily involved in the community and church,  but dog people, too.  Prayers to the accused and his family too … their lives have been changed forever by a senseless random act.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe said Monday that Chauncey Sterling was looking for a victim to rob Friday morning when he allegedly fatally shot hospital executive Robert Barber on a south Charlotte residential street.

Sterling, 18, was arrested Sunday night in his hometown of Rock Hill and charged in Barber’s murder.

“We believe it was a random act that started as a robbery,” Monroe said during a midday news conference Monday at police headquarters in Charlotte. “Mr. Barber was an innocent victim.”

via Teen arrested in killing of Charlotte executive | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Easter, follow-up, Pentecost:

   Luke’s very first sentence tips us off to where he’s going, how the very first Christians conceived of themselves, and what God is calling us to do today:  I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up (Acts 1:1).  Jesus began to do certain things – and so whatever his agenda had been, this became their script, their to-do list, their vision of the rest of their lives.

Easter isn’t a season that passes.  The mind-boggling fact of Jesus’ resurrection means we are forever attached to him; we find meaning and purpose insofar as we mimic him, and enact what he began to do.

Our problem?  We ignore Jesus, or never bother finding out what he began to do; or worse, we do whatever we prefer, we get busy with our pet projects, and try to glue Jesus on the outside of what isn’t of Jesus at all!  God is merciful when we do this – but we can do better, far better.

via All Jesus began to do – read Acts 1:1-5.

Japan Nuclear Disaster, Chernobyl:  I mentioned to my daughter that japan’s disaster had been upgraded to a 7, the same as Chernobyl.  She did not know what Chernobyl was … I guess they did not cover that in World History.  I’ll have to ask her if she has heard of Three Mile Island.

Tuesday, April 26 is the 25th anniversary of the explosion at Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear accident. It set in motion events that today still significantly affect Ukraine. A special video from Gary Lee, who was on the ground in Chernobyl during the disaster, looks back at that time:

Following the recent earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Chernobyl accident and its aftermath have a particular importance this year. As the Washington Post’s Will Englund reported, “The significance of Chernobyl for Japan lies in the question of what happens next. Even if the scope of contamination is smaller, Fukushima will demand of the Japanese a commitment of unforeseeable dimensions.”

via Chernobyl 25 years later – A lesson for Japan – The Washington Post.

RIP, typewriters, technology:  No more typewriters … 😦

It’s an invention that revolutionised the way we work, becoming an essential piece of office equipment for the best part of a century.

But after years of sterling service, that bane for secretaries has reached the end of the line.

Godrej and Boyce – the last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters – has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India with just a few hundred machines left in stock.

via Godrej and Boyce: World’s last typewriter factory closes its doors in Mumbai | Mail Online.

Zombie literature, kith/kin:  J is on a zombie kick.  Any suggestions?  He has read the two by Max Brooks.

Famed horror novelist Stephen King has mined the zombie theme, first with 1990’s “Home Delivery”, written for the aforementioned Book of the Dead compilation and detailing a small town’s attempt to defend itself from a classic zombie outbreak. In 2006 King published Cell, which concerns a struggling young artist on a trek from Boston to Maine in hopes of saving his family from a possible worldwide zombie outbreak, created by “The Pulse”, a global electromagnetic phenomenon that turns the world’s cellular phone users into bloodthirsty, zombie-like maniacs. Cell was a number-one bestseller upon its release[39]

Aside from Cell, the most well-known current work of zombie fiction is 2006’s World War Z by Max Brooks, which was an immediate hit upon its release and a New York Times bestseller.[40] Brooks had previously authored the cult hit The Zombie Survival Guide, an exhaustively researched, zombie-themed parody of pop-fiction survival guides published in 2003.[1] Brooks has said that zombies are so popular because:

Other monsters may threaten individual humans, but the living dead threaten the entire human race…. Zombies are slate wipers.

via Zombies in popular culture.

Zombies, culture, science: … Any connection?

An airborne virus is rapidly turning people into zombies. Two-thirds of humanity has been wiped out. Scientists desperately look for a cure, even as their own brains deteriorate and the disease robs them of what we consider life.

Relax, it’s only fiction — at least, for now. This apocalyptic scenario frames the new novel “The Zombie Autopsies” by Dr. Steven Schlozman, a child psychiatrist who holds positions at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry.

You might not expect someone with those credentials to take zombies seriously, but it turns out the undead are a great way to explore real-world health issues: why certain nasty diseases can destroy the brain, how global pandemics create chaos and fear, and what should be done about people infected with a highly contagious and incurable lethal illness.

“One of the things zombie novels do is they bring up all these existential concerns that happen in medicine all the time: How do you define what’s alive?” says Schlozman, who has been known to bounce between zombie fan conventions and academic meetings.

“When is it appropriate to say someone’s ‘as-good-as-dead,’ which is an awful, difficult decision?”

via Inside zombie brains: Sci-fi teaches science – CNN.com.

street art, graffiti:  Fun to run across one of  these …

Amazing 3-D chalk guy.

law, pc, law firms, King & Spalding, legal ethics:  I guess K&S found the risk outweighed the rewards of this representation.  Is political correctness a reason for withdrawal?

The Atlanta law firm King & Spalding on Monday filed a motion to withdraw from its participation in defending the Defense of Marriage Act, prompting the immediate resignation of high-profile partner Paul Clement.

The law firm had come under fire from gay rights groups when partner Clement agreed to defend the law for Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives. The act defines marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.

“Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal,” Robert D. Hays Jr., the firm’s chairman said.  “In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created.”

Clement, the head of King & Spalding’s national appellate practice, was to be paid $520 an hour for his representation. He once served as U.S. solicitor general for President George W. Bush.  The Obama administration has said it will no longer defend the law in court.

via King & Spalding no longer defending Defense of Marriage Act  | ajc.com.

education,  high school, grade inflation, misleading course titles = inflation:  Interesting insight.

“Like the misleading drink labels, course titles may bear little relationship to what students have actually learned,” said Dr. Mellor, who has analyzed course completion, test records and other student data in Texas “We see students taking more and more advanced courses, but still not performing well on end-of-course exams.”

The 2009 results — the most recent available — of the federal test that measures change in achievement levels over decades showed that the nation’s 17-year-olds were scoring no higher in reading and math than in 1973. SAT scores have dropped or flat-lined, too, since 2000.

via As High School Course Titles Become Inflated, Test Scores Fail to Follow – NYTimes.com.

cover art, Royal Wedding:  OK, I liked this one.

The image that was chosen is a variant on that last idea, but, rather than “doing it,” Prince William and Kate Middleton are “in a perfect pose, with shame and embarrassment. They’re aghast.” Blitt adds, “Prince Charles is great to draw and so is the Queen. Those people are already caricatures.”

via News Desk: Cover Story: Royals in Bed : The New Yorker.

Davidson, Davidson College:  For the past 25 years Davidson has moved the college back on the central campus.  They moved the student PO, they improved food service so not much need to go downtown, etc.  Now there is a move to reconnect the students with the town.  As it should be … a college town.

The college’s purchase and plans for the building have major implications for both downtown Davidson and the college, business owners and others said.

A 10-year facilities master plan approved by Davidson Trustees a year ago called for relocating the college bookstore operation off campus. A report outlining that plan noted the success of the Cats on Main apparel and souvenir store at 131 Main St. and suggested expanding it.

Cats on Main opened in 2009 at 131 N. Main St., next door to the BB&T building. The college plans to consolidate the successful shop into an expanded college bookstore in the BB&T building. (David Boraks/DavidsonNews.net)

Cats on Main currently leases a storefront in a block of buildings owned by Dr. Tom Clark and Joe Poteat, the men behind Cairn Studio. Cairn formerly operated the Tom Clark Museum in the current Cats on Main space, showing off the company’s gnome figurines. That store’s lease ends in July 2012 and its operations will be combined with the new college bookstore at 137 N. Main St. in August 2012, in time for the start of the school year.

After the college moves the bookstore downtown, it plans to renovate the bookstore’s current space in the Alvarez College Union for “student services.”

via College buys BB&T bldg. for $1.25M, to put bookstore there | DavidsonNews.net.

politics, Great Recession, partisan politics, class war:  Grim scenario …

So the Ryan plan worsens our trillion-dollar structural deficit and the Obama plan amounts to small potatoes, at best. Worse, we are about to descend into class war because the Obama plan picks on the rich when it should be pushing tax increases for all, while the Ryan plan attacks the poor when it should be addressing middle-class entitlements and defense.

In the real world, however, the global bond market is already rumbling — and around the corner, a fiscal conflagration surely lies.

via The Bipartisan March to Fiscal Madness – NYTimes.com.

24
Apr
11

4.24.2011 … “Sing and Rejoice” … “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” … “Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound” … “Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” … “In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” … “The Day of Resurrection” … “Christ is Alive” … Hallelujah” … Again, Happy Easter!

Easter, faith and spirituality, worship, worship music, FPC:  The service was beautiful … I loved the music and feel blessed for the music ministry at our church … “Sing and Rejoice” … “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” … “Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound” … “Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” … “In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” … “The Day of Resurrection” … “Christ is Alive” … hallelujah” …
Easter, history, cultural history:

In The Mood for Easter

Long before the birth of 50-foot blow-up bunnies and AstroTurf egg hunts, people still gathered with the folks they loved most and celebrated Easter. Here, a look back.

via Easter: The Early Days – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Easter, Bones, LOL, quotes, twitter:  From Hart Hanson, the producer of Bones:

Happy Easter. To quote Seeley Booth: “Jesus is not a zombie. I should not have to tell you that.” Temperance Brennan does not agree.

via (4) Twitter / Home.

Easter, cultural Easter, lists:

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Easter

From dressing up as witches to burning effigies of politicians, the world holds many more Easter traditions than just dyeing eggs.

via Sweden’s Easter Witches – Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Easter – TIME.

Easter, cultural Easter, Easter baskets/candy, chocolate Easter bunny:  I think I start with the tail … be right back I’ll check!

Adults may be sneaking goodies from kids’ Easter baskets because they appear very knowledgeable about the best way to eat chocolate bunnies. Eating bunnies’ ears first won hands down. “Apparently, this is the most appropriate way to enjoy a chocolate bunny,” said Graham, who admits to eating bunnies’ ears first, himself. Of 1,000 adults surveyed, 76 percent said they start with the ears when they munch a chocolate bunny. Eating bunnies’ feet first (five percent) and tail first (four percent) were not popular choices.

via Taking a Bite Out of the Bunny: Ears Munched First According to Easter Survey – Press Relases – News & Hot Topics – NCA.

Easter, cultural Easter, Easter baskets/candy, Peeps:  This one is funny …

If bragging rights are more valuable than time and money, then Racheal Jones and Ramona Wesely, both of Dallas, and Kathleen Canedo of Oakton, Va., and Hillary Berman of Bethesda, Md., are on Easy Street.

The Texas duo made a mad dash from the Lone Star State to Chicago (arrived Thursday, back home Friday) to deliver their diorama, “Satine the Sparkling Peep from Moulin Peep,” in time for our judges’ panel to deem it their hands-down favorite.

Canedo and Berman made a more leisurely trip from the East Coast, blogging about and posting photos of their journey with their “Larry Peep Live on PNN” diorama in tow. The judges’ panel, comprising movie critic Michael Phillips, visual arts reporter Lauren Viera and theater critic Chris Jones, awarded Canedo and Berman No. 2 honors, once they stopped marveling at the detail of “Larry Peep’s” glasses and little suspenders.

via Peeps contest, Easter, Peeps diorama, – chicagotribune.com.

health, substance abuse, danger:  Alcohol wins … no big honor …

You may want to think twice before going to happy hour tonight.

Alcohol is more dangerous than heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamines, at least according to a new study published in The Lancet, a British medical journal.

The study, which was conducted on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, evaluated the dangers that various drugs pose to the user’s mental and physical health, as well as the harm it may cause the community, in terms of crime and health care costs.

The researchers found that heroin and crack cocaine were the most harmful drugs to the person using them, but alcohol was the most harmful to the community, and overall, when all the factors were added up, alcohol ranked as the most dangerous drug with a score of 72. By comparison, heroin, the next highest, had a score of 55, and other drugs like tobacco, cannabis and LSD scored just a fraction of that.

via Alcohol: The Most Dangerous Drug | Food & Drink | Lifestyle | Mainstreet.

Notre Dame Cathedral, history, places, Paris, France, quotes:

… walk in as tourists, walk out as pilgrims …

The history of France’s Notre Dame Cathedral – CBS News Video.

4/20, Boulder, followup:  Didn’t find the Teague boys in the pictures … Whew.  4/20 in photos | CU Independent.

places, tourist attractions, Charlotte, 2012 DNC: If this is the best we can do, we are gong to have some bored dems.

This week’s Charlotte Business Journal features two Top 25 lists: the Area’s Top Tourist Attractions and North Carolina State Parks.

via Top of the List: Tourist Attractions, State Parks | Charlotte Business Journal.

Middle East awakening, Bahrain, Royal Wedding:  Verygracious of the prince … probably best for his monarchy, too.

Bahrain’s crown prince on Sunday declined an invitation to attend Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, saying he did not want the Gulf nation’s unrest to tarnish the celebration.

Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa sent his regrets to Prince Charles after questions emerged over the British monarchy’s decision to invite a member of Bahrain’s Sunni ruling family, which has waged a wide-ranging crackdown against Shiite protesters calling for more freedoms.

Bahrain’s rulers have imposed martial law and are backed by a Saudi-led military force to try to quell the uprising. At least 30 people have died in Bahrain since mid-February, including four who died while in official custody, and many well-known activists and lawyers have been imprisoned.

The news helped to avoid a potentially awkward situation during the April 29 wedding. Campaigners in Britain complained when palace officials said Saturday that the prince was attending the nuptials, and some petitioned Foreign Secretary William Hague to revoke the invitation.

via Bahrain Crown Prince Declines Royal Wedding Invite – NYTimes.com.

random acts of violence, follow-up, Robert  Barber, FPC, obituary:  Mr. Barber was a member of FPC.  I did not know him or his wife, but his absence was felt at Easter worship today.

He and Barber were both retired colonels – a “couple of old military guys,” he said.

“We’d walk down the hallway, and I’d say, ‘You know, Bob, we’re in step,'” he said, laughing. “Old habits die hard.”

Brown and Barber were both members of the Rotary Club of Charlotte, where Brown said Barber took minutes and compiled newsletters.

“This man had not missed a Rotary meeting in 15 years,” Brown said.

He said Barber was devoted to his church, First Presbyterian in uptown, his profession and his family.

At work, Barber had a reputation as a skilled professional who could easily connect with his co-workers.

“He would work 80 hours a week if it meant turning around a community hospital,” Brown said.

Outside of work, Barber had many interests, including muscle cars, motorcycles and genealogy, Brown said.

“I think I’ve only known a couple of people in my life I’d consider Renaissance men,” Brown said. “Bob was one of them.”

via Witness heard victim’s lament after shooting | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

 art, graphic art, Maira Kalman:  Maira’s take on the British war poster …

Keep Calm And Carry On | anything goes.

Maira Kalman, art, TED videosMaira Kalman | Profile on TED.com.

art, graphic art, Maira Kalman, interview: I just like this woman …

Are there places or things you avoid because they sap your creativity?

I avoid malls. They are deadly.

via Inspiration Boards: Maira Kalman.

computer art, math, Davidson College, Tim Chartier, random:

Tim Chartier at Davidson College has discovered that if you make things out of candy there’s no lack of volunteers to help you clean up. He takes images and transforms them mathematically into arrays of candy pieces. Here you can see President Obama, as rounded to the set of m&m color values. Mathematically, the algorithm picks the available color which is closest in red-green-blue-space to the average of the pixels it replaces.

via Make: Online | Math Monday: Candy Images.

Also see Math Movement – Sugar-coated CoM&Mander-in-Chief.

23
Apr
11

‎4.23.2011 … random act of violence in my own neighborhood … booking flights to France … any recs for places, restaurants or hotels in France?

random acts of violence, murder, South Charlotte, Charlotte, RIP, prayers, reverse 911, me:  Prayers for the Barber family; rest in peace, Robert Barber, respected health care executive. I just this week added  the “random acts of violence” category, and now such an act, this time murder, occurred 1/2 mile from my house, along my daily walking path, in the neighborhood next to mine.  We received two “reverse 911” calls.  When they come in the caller ID says “Char Meck Emer Serv” .. and of course you think, OMG, who is hurt? But usually they are about a missing elderly person with Alzheimer’s.  This time it was announcing an “assault’ around the corner with a suspect armed and fleeing on foot.  Only later do you find out it is a murder … Senseless…why?

The shooting happened around 10:15 a.m. in the 4500 block of Mullens Ford Road, off Carmel Road, not far from Charlotte Country Day School.Police said Barber, 64, was gunned down as he walked from a nearby business to his home, which was about two miles away from where he was killed.Police searched for the gunman using a helicopter and canine units, but no one had been arrested late Friday. The crime shocked residents of the Foxcroft East neighborhood, where Barbers covered body lay near a curb as police investigated.The shooting scene – in an area of townhouses, two-story homes, neatly trimmed lawns and walking paths – is about a mile east of SouthPark mall.

According to reports, Barber and his wife stopped Friday morning not far from where he was killed – at Caribou Coffee on Fairview Road. His wife drove to work, and Barber decided to walk home.

Neighbors reported hearing gunshots, and some residents told Observer news partner WCNC-TV that the shooting happened during a robbery.

Police issued two “Reverse 911” calls to residents in the area, alerting them to the assault and the search under way. Investigators talked to neighbors, and police said some residents were taken to police headquarters for questioning.

via Health care executive slain in S. Charlotte neighborhood | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

France, Tailloires, Lyons, Chauvet, Mont St. Michel, Paris:  Tailloires, Lyons, Chauvet, Mont St. Michel … ideas we are considering … and, of course, Paris  … would love more ideas!!

Talloires is located south of Geneva, Switzerland, on Lake Annecy and 13 km (8.1 mi) from the local “prefecture” Annecy, near the border of Italy. The town is situated in the French Alps, along a bay on the east side of the lake.

via Talloires – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Lyon was founded on the Fourvière hill as a Roman colony in 43 BC by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lug[o]dunon, from the Celtic god Lugus (‘Light’, cognate with Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish Lú) and dúnon (hill-fort). Lyon was first named Lugdunum meaning the “hill of lights” or “the hill of crows”. Lug was equated by the Romans to Mercury.

via Lyon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The oldest known cave art is that of Chauvet in France, the paintings of which may be 32,000 years old according to radiocarbon dating, and date back to 30,000 BCE (Upper Paleolithic).[4] Some researchers believe the drawings are too advanced for this era and question this age.[5]

via Cave painting – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Honfleur is a commune in the Calvados department in northwestern France. It is located on the southern bank of the estuary of the Seine across from le Havre and very close to the exit of the Pont de Normandie. Its inhabitants are called Honfleurais.

It is especially known for its old, beautiful picturesque port, characterized by its houses with slate-covered frontages, painted many times by artists, including in particular Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet and Johan Jongkind, forming the école de Honfleur (Honfleur school) which contributed to the appearance of the Impressionist movement. The Sainte-Catherine church, which has a bell-tower separate from the principal building, is the largest church made out of wood in France.

via Honfleur – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mont Saint-Michel was previously connected to the mainland via a thin natural land bridge, which before modernization was covered at high tide and revealed at low tide. This connection has been compromised by several developments. Over the centuries, the coastal flats have been polderised to create pasture. Thus the distance between the shore and the south coast of Mont-Saint-Michel has decreased. The Couesnon River has been canalised, reducing the flow of water and thereby encouraging a silting-up of the bay. In 1879, the land bridge was fortified into a true causeway. This prevented the tide from scouring the silt around the mount.

On 16 June 2006, the French prime minister and regional authorities announced a €164 million project (Projet Mont-Saint-Michel)[1] to build a hydraulic dam using the waters of the river Couesnon and of tides to help remove the accumulated silt deposited by the rising tides, and to make Mont-Saint-Michel an island again. It was projected to be completed by 2012.[2]

via Mont Saint-Michel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

photography, computer art, iPhone , iPhone art, NYC: Loved this use of the iPhone!

“Spring City” was photographed entirely by exploiting a neat quirk of the camera on my two-year-old iPhone. Shaking the phone vigorously while taking pictures in bright light will produce wonderfully rubbery, fun-house-mirror effects. Turning these still images into a movie required taking over 4,000 of them, wiggling the camera each time. The jiggling, jello-like movement is the sum of the differences between the the distortions. The resulting film becomes a big wiggly dance when set to Shay Lynch’s mambo.

While gathering the images for this film I spent a lot of time on various street corners, looking a little nuts, shaking my phone furiously at the city. Not a single person asked what I was doing. Of course, many people were busy looking at their own phones, but I think a lot of behavior that would have seemed eccentric not long ago now seems normal once you spot the phone in hand or ear. I’m all for the convergence of media in our pocket devices these days, but I’m still surprised when my camera rings while I’m shooting something and someone wants to talk on it.

via ‘Spring City’ – NYTimes.com.

South Africa, ethics, photography, photojournalism, documentary movies, Tribeca Film Festival: Unsettling use of the camera …

It is an indelible portrait of African despair: an emaciated little girl collapses to her knees from hunger. Her forehead and palms press against the ground in an apparent final act of prostration. In the background, a vulture awaits its carrion. In May 1994, 14 months after capturing the image of a famine stricken child crawling toward a U.N. food camp in Sudan, photographer Kevin Carter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Three months later, Carter drove to the Braamfontein Spruit river in Johannesburg, an area he used to play as a child, taped one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe, ran the other end into the passenger-side window, and took his own life.

The cast of “The Bang Bang Club”.

The image became a symbol of African suffering, but it also emerged as one of the most controversial in the history of photojournalism, addressing issues of complicity. By Carter’s own admission, he waited 20 minutes, focusing and refocusing his lens on the scene, hoping the vulture would spread its wings. When it didn’t, Carter snapped the photograph and chased the bird away, but did not help the girl. The St. Petersburg Times went so far as to say, “the photographer adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.” Afterward, Carter retreated to the shade of a tree, lit a cigarette, spoke to God, and cried. “He was depressed afterward,” fellow photographer João Silva told Time. “He kept saying he wanted to hug his daughter.”

While Carter’s image is the most famous, currently taught in journalism school ethics classes across the country, it’s just one of many impactful photos taken by The Bang Bang Club, the name given to a group of four fearless photographers—Carter, Silva, Greg Marinovich, and Ken Oosterbroek—who captured the brutality of South African apartheid between 1990 and 1994. In 2000, Marinovich and Silva published the book, The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots From a Hidden War, that documented their apartheid experiences, and the tome has been adapted into a feature film by South African documentary filmmaker Steven Silver, starring Ryan Phillippe as Marinovich, Taylor Kitsch as Carter, and Neels Van Jaarsveld as Silva.

via The Bang Bang Club: Tribeca’s Harrowing Film About War Photographers – The Daily Beast.

Jane Austen, games, puzzles, random: Everything Jane!

For those addicted to brain teasers and Jane Austen, I have the prefect diversion for you. The Puzzle Society™ has assembled this tidy Pocket Posh® edition of crosswords, quizzes, word searches, codewords and more, all inspired by Jane Austen, her novels and her world.

Challenge your knowledge of “our” Jane in this compact pocket edition wrapped in a beautiful Renaissance rose pattern cover design, bound by elastic band closure with smooth rounded edges. Slip it in your purse, backpack or brief case Janeites with the assurance that you will expand your knowledge and appreciation of our favorite author while on the go.

via Laurel (Lake Stevens, WA)’s review of Pocket Posh Jane Austen: 100 Puzzles Quizzes.

Bible, KJV, history:  Another good article on the history of the KJV.

From the start, the King James Bible was intended to be not a literary creation but rather a political and theological compromise between the established church and the growing Puritan movement. What the king cared about was clarity, simplicity, doctrinal orthodoxy. The translators worked hard on that, going back to the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, and yet they also spent a lot of time tweaking the English text in the interest of euphony and musicality. Time and again the language seems to slip almost unconsciously into iambic pentameter — this was the age of Shakespeare, commentators are always reminding us — and right from the beginning the translators embraced the principles of repetition and the dramatic pause: “In the beginning God created the Heauen, and the Earth. And the earth was without forme, and voyd, and darkenesse was vpon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the face of the waters.”

The influence of the King James Bible is so great that the list of idioms from it that have slipped into everyday speech, taking such deep root that we use them all the time without any awareness of their biblical origin, is practically endless: sour grapes; fatted calf; salt of the earth; drop in a bucket; skin of one’s teeth; apple of one’s eye; girded loins; feet of clay; whited sepulchers; filthy lucre; pearls before swine; fly in the ointment; fight the good fight; eat, drink and be merry.

Not everyone prefers a God who talks like a pal or a guidance counselor. Even some of us who are nonbelievers want a God who speaketh like — well, God. The great achievement of the King James translators is to have arrived at a language that is both ordinary and heightened, that rings in the ear and lingers in the mind. And that all 54 of them were able to agree on every phrase, every comma, without sounding as gassy and evasive as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, is little short of amazing, in itself proof of something like divine inspiration.

via Why the King James Bible Endures – NYTimes.com.

social networking, tracking, technology:

Through these and other cellphone research projects, scientists are able to pinpoint “influencers,” the people most likely to make others change their minds. The data can predict with uncanny accuracy where people are likely to be at any given time in the future. Cellphone companies are already using these techniques to predict—based on a customer’s social circle of friends—which people are most likely to defect to other carriers.

A wave of ambitious social-network experiments is underway in the U.S. and Europe to track our movements, probe our relationships and, ultimately, affect the individual choices we all make. WSJ’s Robert Lee Hotz reports.

The data can reveal subtle symptoms of mental illness, foretell movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and chart the spread of political ideas as they move through a community much like a contagious virus, research shows. In Belgium, researchers say, cellphone data exposed a cultural split that is driving a historic political crisis there.

And back at MIT, scientists who tracked student cellphones during the latest presidential election were able to deduce that two people were talking about politics, even though the researchers didn’t know the content of the conversation. By analyzing changes in movement and communication patterns, researchers could also detect flu symptoms before the students themselves realized they were getting sick.

via The Really Smart Phone – WSJ.com.

movies, Bible, film/lit, faith and spirituality: This is a good article about movies of the Jesus story …

DeMille concluded his account of Wallner’s visit by writing: “If I felt that this film was my work, it would be intolerably vain and presumptuous to quote such stories from the hundreds like them that I could quote. But all we did in ‘The King of Kings,’ all I have striven to do in any of my Biblical pictures, was to translate into another medium, the medium of sight and sound, the words of the Bible.”

Millions world-wide will celebrate Easter this weekend with the proclamation, “Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!” Knowing this has inspired men and women throughout the ages to claim the words of St. Paul, “that you may know what is the hope of His calling . . . the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” A resurrection hope found not only in film, but in the lives of those that follow.

via John A. Murray: The Gospel According to Hollywood – WSJ.com.

Easter, bookshelf, lists: Recommendations for books on the Passion of Christ …

Jon Meacham

A little late, but maybe for next year. I think three of the best books on the Passion are N.T. Wright’s “The Resurrection of the Son of God”: Paula Fredriksen’s “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”; and Raymond E. Brown’s two-volume “Death of the Messiah.” They are all amazing, and take most of us well beyond what we think we know.

via Facebook.




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